The American Medical Association (AMA) commended President Joe Biden on his administration’s executive actions to curb gun violence, which were announced on Thursday .
AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, said in a statement on Thursday, “With approximately 40,000 Americans dying from firearm-related injuries each year in the United States, we need bold action to confront this public health crisis. The AMA applauds today’s action by the Biden administration to require background checks for ghost guns, and we urge a rapid rulemaking process to stop the proliferation of these dangerous weapons.”
Bailey referred to homemade “ghost” guns — built from a kit — which have no serial numbers to trace them.
“The AMA also supports ‘red flag’ laws allowing family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement personnel to petition a court for the removal of a firearm when there is a high or imminent risk for violence,” she said. “But these actions are just a first step.”
She added, “[N]ow is the time for lawmakers, policy leaders, and advocates on all sides to seek common ground and save lives.”
Critics today vowed in news reports and on social media to fight the measures.
In his announcement on Thursday, Biden said, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again: Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.”
He also cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics that indicate that “more than half of all suicides involve the use of a firearm.”
Physician, Family Gunned Down the Day Before
Biden referred to the killing of Rock Hill, South Carolina, physician Robert Lesslie, MD, board certified in emergency medicine and occupational medicine, who was gunned down on Wednesday along with his wife, Barbara, of 40 years, two grandchildren, and a worker at the Lesslie home.
A memorial was growing today outside the doctor’s practice.
There’s a growing memorial outside the Riverview Medical Clinic in Rock Hill where Dr. Robert Lesslie worked. I’m live on @wsoctv this morning focusing on the impact this tragedy is having on friends & family of all involved. pic.twitter.com/YLkiELE12J
— Anthony Kustura (@AnthonyWSOC9) April 9, 2021
Authorities say the killer was former NFL player Phillip Adams, who later killed himself. No motive has been established.
“Every day in this country, 316 people are shot. Every single day. A hundred and six of them die every day,” Biden said. “Our flag was still flying at half staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian American people in Georgia when 10 more lives were taken in a mass murder in Colorado.”
He pointed out that in the week between those two incidents, there were an additional 850 shootings in the United States that killed more than 250 people.
The administration’s unilateral moves come as legislation to tighten gun control is stuck in Congress.
In addition to background checks for ghost guns, adding serial numbers on their parts, and red-flag laws, Biden said in the Thursday Rose Garden briefing that he’s calling for a change to be made to the National Firearms Act regarding the stabilizing brace, which can turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle.
The change to the legislation would require that a potential owner pay a $200 fee and submit his or her name and other identifying information to the Justice Department, “just as they would if they went out and purchased a silencer for a gun,” Biden said.
Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune and Nurse.com and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick.